The Archdiocese of Boston dubbed 2020 the Year of the Eucharist to honor, celebrate and encourage participation in the Blessed Sacrament. While officially proclaimed in Boston, we invite the whole of our community to use this time to learn about, reflect upon, and celebrate the Holy Eucharist.
The Year of the Eucharist began on the feast of Corpus Christi in 2020 and will end on the feast of Corpus Christi in 2022. To allow for even more participation while in-person events are difficult, the Archdiocese extended the Year of the Eucharist another year.
The Significance of the Feast of Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi is Latin for “Body of Christ.” The special feast day is a celebration of the Eucharist and honors the presence of Jesus’ body and blood within it. The Feast of Corpus Christi occurs 60 days after Easter, or the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, and is most often celebrated with a special Mass and procession.
In 2021, the feast day falls on Thursday, June 3rd. Our community at St. Francis Chapel in Boston is holding a special procession following Sunday Mass on the lawn outside the chapel to celebrate Corpus Christi. We also invite you to join our community around the world to celebrate the Eucharist on the feast day by watching Mass and a special procession online with St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine.
Finding the Lord Through the Eucharist
When we receive the Eucharist, we receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ and His love and sacrifice for our salvation. As the source and summit of our faith, our hope and our love as Catholics can be found in the Eucharist.
“Prayer is the school of union with God, but the Sacraments actually unite us with God.”Venerable Bruno Lanteri, OMV Founder
In 2019, a Pew Research Center study on “What Americans Know About Religion” showed that only half of US Catholics could answer a question about the transubstantiation, that during Communion bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist. This study and working to shift the results by strengthening our community’s connection to the Eucharist inspired this Year of the Eucharist.
As St. Pope John Paul II wrote, “The Church draws her life from the Eucharist.” The bread and wine are not symbols of Jesus’ body and blood; they are His body and blood. When we eat His body and drink His blood, we accept the Lord and His eternal love and mercy into our lives, our hearts, and our souls. It is a life-changing experience that can be done again and again to continuously strengthen your faith and relationship with God.
Join in the Year of the Eucharist
The first year of the Year of the Eucharist is coming to a close, but there is still another whole year (and the rest of your life on Earth) to honor, celebrate, and strengthen your relationship with the Lord through the Eucharist.
While receiving the Eucharist directly is the ultimate way to join in the celebration, there are additional ways to deepen your understanding of the Eucharist, reflect on what it means to your faith, and strengthen your relationship with the Lord.
For example, if you are not able to attend Mass in person to receive Communion, watching Mass online can still create time for prayer and reflection on the Eucharist in your daily life.
Another impactful way to join in the Year of the Eucharist is through participating in Eucharistic Adoration. Praying to Jesus Christ in the presence of the Eucharist, His body and blood, gives strength and power to your conversation with the Lord.
“The time you spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the best time that you will spend on earth. Each moment that you spend with Jesus will deepen your union with Him and make your soul everlastingly more glorious and beautiful in heaven, and will help bring about an everlasting peace on earth.”St. Teresa of Calcutta
Resources and Exercises
These resources and reflections on the Eucharist can be helpful in strengthening your faith and connection to the Eucharist. Consider working through a few of them this year to join us in celebrating the Year of the Eucharist.
- Though these spiritual exercises were created for Lent, they are a wonderful practice for any time of year and carry a special focus on the Eucharist and its saving power.
- A Biblical Way Of Praying The Mass: The Eucharistic Wisdom of Venerable Bruno Lanteri by Fr. Timothy Gallagher, OMV, directly addresses the power of Communion.
- The Archdiocese of Boston has compiled recommended resources for celebrating the Year of the Eucharist.
- St. Francis Chapel also offers a wide range of resources to help you on your journey with the Eucharist this coming year.
The Eucharist and the real presence of Jesus Christ within it is the foundation of our faith as Catholics. Taking the time to honor, reflect upon, and participate in the Eucharist will strengthen your faith in a way that few other actions can.
What prayers, reflections or resources have you found helpful in strengthening your relationship with the Lord through the Eucharist? Will you be joining our celebration of the Year of the Eucharist? How have you celebrated thus far? We invite you to share your reflections, resources and experiences in the comments below.